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August 10, 2017

ACO roundup: Few patients compare prices, despite widespread support for the practice, study finds

Daily Briefing
  • 2,573 hospitals will face readmission penalties this year. Is yours one of them? Medicare under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) will reduce reimbursement for 2,573 hospitals for fiscal year (FY) 2018, according CMS data released last week, Jordan Rau reports for Kaiser Health News. The latest penalties, based on readmissions between July 2013 and June 2016, will apply to Medicare payments that CMS makes to the affected hospitals between Oct. 1, 2017 and Sept. 30, 2018. Overall, the number of penalized hospitals this year marks a slight decline from FY 2017, when Medicare reduced reimbursements for 2,597 hospitals. According to KHN, since the readmissions penalties took effect, hospital readmissions for related conditions have dropped nationwide.

  • Few consumers compare health care prices, study finds. While most consumers say comparing prices for health care services is important, just 3 percent said they actually compared provider prices before care, according to a new study in Health Affairs. For the study, researchers surveyed 2,996 adults who paid at least partly out-of-pocket for health care within the past year. According to the study, the most common barrier to price comparison was the difficulty of finding price data and desire to avoid disrupting current patient-provider relationships. The "results emphasize that simply passing price transparency laws or regulations (as over half of states have done) appears insufficient to facilitate price shopping," the researchers concluded. "Efforts to encourage price shopping may need to be targeted to selected clinical contexts that are suitable for shopping."

  • Hospital patients receive little quality data on SNFs, study shows. Patients being transferred from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) are rarely given quality data about the SNFs when asked to make their decision from a list of hospital-provided options, according to a new study in Health Affairs. For the study, researchers in 2015 surveyed 138 staffers at 25 SNFs and 16 hospitals across eight states, as well as 98 Medicare beneficiaries receiving care at 14 SNFs. According to the researchers, hospitals indicated they didn't share quality data on SNFs with patients because of legal restrictions and a focus on patient choice.

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